The need to keep up with current affairs

Photo by Brenda Lin

After seeing my name listed under the editorial column for the January 16 issue, one could say I was fairly disheartened. Living up to the classic narcissistic college student stereotype, I immediately vented my frustration to my friends who tried to empathize with my situation. They instantly offered up suggested topics, but I did not deem “the mystery behind Kim Kardashian” as particularly editorial-worthy.

Finally, I decided I might just stick to a classic news-esque editorial: I could present my views on a controversial current event. Although the editorial might require some background research, I was up to the task. I decided to casually run some topics by my friends: the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the rise of ISIS, the current hacking trends. But while listing off the proposed suggestions, I instantly saw blank looks all around. That’s when I immediately took notice to an even larger present issue (yes, larger than “the mystery behind Kim Kardashian”): my friends were unaware of the world around them.

Once they affirmed that my assumption was correct, I asked them why they failed to stay up-to-date on world issues. Most agreed that the intense Tech workload coupled with the fact that classes chose not to emphasize current issues led to them remaining ignorant on the aforementioned topics.

Now, I acknowledge that some Tech international affairs and history classes tend to focus on current events more than the average Tech math and science class, but, still, class discussion on particularly relevant issues is limited. Even though I took an international affairs class last semester, we still failed to talk about or at least mention the pressing Ferguson riots or the Eric Garner case. While I recognize that teachers must follow certain curriculum-based standards, I still felt the lack of discussion was certainly disappointing.

While I think the absence of current event talk in the classroom is discouraging, I think it also reflects a more eminent concern: the relevance of classroom learning. For instance, how will my studies be applicable to the real world? I ask myself that question daily.

Although I feel that by forcing students to abide by strict curriculum standards, the educational system definitely contributes to students’ lack of worldly knowledge, I still feel students should take the initiative to stay up-to-date on current events. After all, others’ actions carry universal dimensions.

I recognize that this piece offers a limited amount of solutions to a seemingly abstract topic, but I wrote this editorial with the sole intent to pose questions and thoughts that would hopefully encourage discussion. That would hopefully encourage teachers to preach the relevance of their classes to students. That would hopefully encourage students to acknowledge a greater world outside of Tech.